Title- King of Battle and Blood
Author- Scarlett St. Clair
Series- Adrian X Isolde
Genre- dark fantasy romance/borderline erotica
POV- first person
Trope- enemies to lovers, vampire
Steam level- 5/5 spice
Cover– eye catching, but seemed like a duplicate of From Blood and Ash
Comps– The Shadows Between Us, Kingdom of the Wicked
Plot/Blurb- Their union is his revenge.
Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day to be her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him.
But her assassination attempt is thwarted, and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries to kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court.
Except it isn’t the court she fears most―it’s Adrian. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king―fierce, savage, merciless―chose her as consort.
The answer will shatter her world.
First chapter- I’m already in love. Vampire books usually aren’t my thing but the way this is presented is already intriguing. Isolde is a bad ass princess warrior who wants her freedom back so her father no longer has bounds on where she can be. The brief scene with Killian shows she is already changing as a person with what she’s interested in, a turning point in relationships so it seems. The vampires at the Kingdoms doorstep already raises the stakes to have me wondering what they’ll do? Fight or negotiate. And in the forest, she’s setting herself up for delicious destruction by enjoying the healing tongue of their enemy.
Best part- hot steamy scenes.
What I would change- less clues given throughout so it would be less predictable
Quote- “All the stars in the sky are not as bright as my love for you.”
Setting- I liked the description of the new vampire land she was forced to live in.
Prose- nothing stood out as extra poetic, but it worked well and flowed. Nothing was choppy
Character development- I’m unsure how I feel about her character growth. I agree with her thoughts at the end, but part of it felt like she went backwards for the sake of a sequel. “The greater good” thought process felt like a gray area… which might be the point.
Vivid sensory descriptions- average
Dialogue- average, though I loved when he called her Sparrow
Diversity- Isolde speaks of having darker skin and her island orientation, but I’m unsure of her ethnicity in this epic fantasy world and if it matters.Daroc & Sorin are secondary characters that represent a MM romance
Conflict/tension/obstacles- in the middle I wanted her to have more agency, but overall, she has plenty of challenges and is ruthless in overcoming them.
Thoughts while reading-
Page 34- all predictable so far. But I love it
Page 43- I’m desperate to know how much control she has I’ve ever mind when in Adrian’s presence (looking back on this later- this question was never fully answered)
Page 70- prediction: Killian will make a giant jealous mess of things later.
Page 100- woah! 5/5 steamy
Page 131 – unfortunately I’m not really believing that all the citizens had such high expectations for Isolde to ____ (no spoilers). Just because of the situation they have to had known how unlikely her chances were. So I’m not totally on board.
Page 157- so the sex scenes are spicy hot, but I’m wondering if this isn’t fantasy romance but fantasy erotica because the premise is based off sexual chemistry so far
Page 174- it feels like it’s taken them too long to start the next part of the novel and arrive to their destination
191- Halfway through. The push & pull of the hatred & sexual desires is a little exhausting but also tension-filled in a good way so I’m unsure if I’m wanting it dialed down or dialed up. I need her to make a choice soon and stop playing tug-of-war with the reader
Also, I’m not sure I like the hunting of the idea that Isolde was Adrian’s only option- like fated to be together. Because then where is the choice
Page 261- but why? WHY? I’m in the dark & starting to want answers.
Page 286- I have no idea what’s happening. Too much backstory for the last chapter.
Page 300- the abrupt change from reality to dream within a single sentence is confusing
Page 337- every time their outfits are mentioned, I skim it, bored
Page 354- amazing!!!
Page 375- oh shit!!!
Ending- I feel like I need a day to fully process how I feel about the entirety of this book. I liked it overall & read it quickly yet and 50/50 about buying the sequel once it comes out. The sex scenes were hot but there was one every other chapter, so it felt more like erotica. I don’t mind erotica, but I wanted more depth to this one. Her Revelation near the end was predictable and expected. The only surprise was page 375.